RSVPMaker is Now on GitHub

This is an invitation to developers with ideas about how to make RSVPMaker better. The code is now on GitHub:

https://github.com/davidfcarr/rsvpmaker

While I have received occasional code contributions over the years, I hope this will make it easier to collaborate with others who have great ideas or who have stronger skills in some areas than I do. Even if you don’t have code to contribute, there is an Issues section where you can record wish list items.

I’m relatively new to using GitHub, so I welcome advice on how to use the platform effectively.

RSVPMaker on GitHub

Customization for Notification Emails

Added by popular request: a new way of modifying the notification and confirmation messages RSVPMaker sends when someone submits the form for an event.

The default is still that a notification goes to the event organizer (or whatever email address or addresses you supplied) saying something like “RSVP YES for The Big Event on May 1” and the attendee gets a version that says “Confirming RSVP YES for The Big Event on May 1.” By default, the confirmation message also includes a button people can click to update their RSVP.

Now, if you want to use “Registration” rather than RSVP in the subject line, or you want to leave off the “Update RSVP” button (some people have told me they don’t want to make it too easy for people to back out), you can make those changes. (See also: How to Change the RSVP Now! Button.)

The notifications editor opens up possibilities for adding personality to these transactional messages. It also simplifies the process of localization, since “RSVP” is not universally understood across languages and cultures.

Sample form, showing customized subject line
Confirmation message with a customized headline

The information you record here should be generic enough to apply to all your events. You still get the option to add a per-event confirmation message, which will be included as long as your template includes the [rsvpmessage] placeholder (one of several documented on the page for the template editor). By default, the confirmation message is just “Thank you!” but I’ve also used RSVPMaker to register people for webinars where that message includes detailed instructions for accessing the online event. For a terrestrial event, it might be driving directions.

The Notification Templates screen is distinct from the Email Template screen, which you use to define one or more templates for the layout of your HTML email, for example to specify a background color. Notification messages use the default template defined on that screen.

While RSVPMaker is intended to be useful out of the box, I continue to look for ways to let you make it your own.

P.S. for Developers

If you create extensions to RSVPMaker, there are filters and actions you can tap to extend this feature as well.

The default array of variables used for these templates is defined like this:

You can add to it with a filter like

Your filter would be passed an array and return your modified version with additional entries in the same format.

The sample forms use data pulled from a simple key / value array, where entries look like

The filter for that is ‘rsvpmaker_notification_sample_data’.

Finally, there is a ‘rsvpmaker_notification_templates_doc’ action you can use to add to the documentation at the bottom of the page.

As part of my WordPress for Toastmasters project, I plan to use this same template utility for confirmation and reminder messages for specific meeting roles.

Create Your Own RSVPMaker Events Listing Format

I’ve been working on creating a better API for developers who want to extend RSVPMaker, without hacking the core code of the plugin or overriding the pluggable functions. This example shows how you might take advantage of the get_future_events() function to write your own shortcode or widget code that outputs an event listing in a format of your own design.

get_future_events accepts 2 parameters, both optional — get_future_events($where,$limit)

$where is a SQL clause like ‘post_author=2’

$limit is a limit on the number of events that should be returned.

In this example, I added a shortcode that accepts where and limit as parameters that can be passed to the get_future_events function. You can also use before and after with either a specific MySQL formatted date or a date function like CURDATE() or DATE_ADD(). The past attribute directs RSVPMaker to use the get_past_events() function (which works the same way) instead. (This was only supposed to be a simple example, but I got carried away.)

I also included a showfield attribute to let you see the fields returned (the post_content body is hidden). In addition to all the normal $post properties, you get datetime (the full MySQL datetime for the event) and date (a formatted version). You can output the date in a different format by running the datetime data through PHP’s strtotime() to get a timestamp and then formatting your date with date() or strftime().

Here is the code, followed by a couple of examples.

[rsvpmaker_shortcode_demo]
Output:

July 2, 2017
Sunday Seminar

July 9, 2017
Sunday Seminar

July 16, 2017
Sunday Seminar

July 23, 2017
Sunday Seminar

July 30, 2017
Sunday Seminar

[rsvpmaker_shortcode_demo showfields="1"]
Output:

stdClass::__set_state(array( 'postID' => '115745', 'ID' => '115745', 'post_author' => '1', 'post_date' => '2017-03-07 22:21:54', 'post_date_gmt' => '2017-03-08 03:21:54', 'post_content' => '[post content goes here]', 'post_title' => 'Sunday Seminar', 'post_excerpt' => '', 'post_status' => 'publish', 'comment_status' => 'closed', 'ping_status' => 'closed', 'post_password' => '', 'post_name' => 'sunday-seminar-2017-7-2', 'to_ping' => '', 'pinged' => '', 'post_modified' => '2017-03-07 22:21:54', 'post_modified_gmt' => '2017-03-08 03:21:54', 'post_content_filtered' => '', 'post_parent' => '0', 'guid' => 'https://rsvpmaker.com/rsvpmaker/sunday-seminar-2017-7-2/', 'menu_order' => '0', 'post_type' => 'rsvpmaker', 'post_mime_type' => '', 'comment_count' => '0', 'datetime' => '2017-07-02 19:30:00', 'date' => 'July 2, 2017', ))

[rsvpmaker_shortcode_demo where="post_title LIKE ‘%the%’"]
Output:

August 3, 2017
RSVPMaker Entrepreneur Of The Year Dinner

[rsvpmaker_shortcode_demo after="DATE_ADD(NOW(), INTERVAL 30 DAY)"]
Output:

July 30, 2017
Sunday Seminar

August 3, 2017
RSVPMaker Entrepreneur Of The Year Dinner

August 5, 2017
Cub Scout Camping Trip

August 6, 2017
Cub Scout Camping Trip

August 6, 2017
Sunday Seminar

[rsvpmaker_shortcode_demo past="1"]
Output:

June 25, 2017
Sunday Seminar

February 10, 2017
3 Different Tickets

January 10, 2017
Webinar: Market and Manage Events with RSVPMaker for WordPress

December 7, 2016
Webinar: Organize Events with RSVPMaker for WordPress

July 20, 2016
Promoting Events with MailChimp + WordPress + RSVPMaker

Using RSVPMaker for WordPress with Stripe Instead of PayPal

If you charge for some of your events, you now have the option to use the Stripe payment service rather than PayPal. This is a new feature (call it “beta” if you like), so if you try it please report back with a comment below to confirm that it worked for you.

Rather than writing my own API integration code for Stripe, I’m supporting this with an assist from the WP Simple Pay Lite for Stripe plugin. (There is also a Pro version for you to consider, but the free version seems to work just fine for my purposes). Once you install and activate the plugin, you will see a checkbox option to “Use Stripe instead of PayPal” on the RSVPMaker settings screen.

You will also need to have SSL security enabled on your site (or at least on the event page) to use Stripe payment in production. These days, SSL is becoming more and more of a default requirement for all websites, and there are good free options for obtaining SSL certificates. The reason SSL is not required for RSVPMaker’s default PayPal integration is that the responsibility for encrypting the financial transaction is delegated to PayPal’s website. After users complete the transaction at paypal.com, they’re redirected back to your WordPress site, and the payment is logged to the RSVP record.

You may find the Stripe integration to be a nicer user experience because the user never leaves your website and is presented with a straight credit card entry form, rather than a choice between between paying by credit card or with a PayPal account. According to this comparison, Stripe’s fee schedule also includes fewer surcharges.

For the sake of the demo below, I have WP Simple Pay enabled but in test mode.

Tuesday August 29, 2017 7:00 PM
 

In addition to integrating with PayPal, RSVPMaker can be used with the competing Stripe payment service when used in combination with the WP Simple Pay Lite for Stripe plugin. For this demo, the plugin is set for test mode allowing you to try it using these fake credit card credentials:

Number 4111 1111 1111 1111
Expiration Date: any future date
Code: any 3 digit code

15 signed up so far.

RSVP Now!

Event Types:

Webinars on Webinars: Public Speaking and Online Tools

I’m working on a series of events this month related to online tools for organizing events, tools for organizing online events, and the developing the public speaking skills needed to communicate effectively in webcasts, webinars, online meetings, and live video.

Webinar: Market and Manage Events with RSVPMaker for WordPress – Tuesday January 10th, 1:00 PM EST – my webinar on a free WordPress plugin for event management (which, among other things, can be used to organize webinars built around YouTube Live)

Organizational Meeting: Online Presenters Toastmasters Club – Tuesday January 10th, 2017, 8 pm to 9 pm EST – first steps toward the formation of a Toastmasters club dedicated toward training and practice for online presentation skills, to be conducted online

WordPress for Toastmasters Webinar for January 2017 – Thursday January 19th, 2017, 1:00 PM EST – tutorial and Q&A session on the software for managing Toastmasters clubs (including online clubs)

Taking Public Speaking Online: Secrets of the Geeks on Tour – Wednesday January 25th,  7:00 PM EST – I’ll be moderating an educational webinar offered by Toastmasters district 47 featuring Jim and Chris Guld, whose weekly YouTube Live TV show is a marketing tool for their business teaching about technology for travelers

Learn Professional Online Presentation Skills with Roger Courville – Tuesday February 7th, 8:00 PM EST to 9:00 PM EST – I’ll be hosting an educational webinar offered by Toastmasters district 47 featuring Roger Courville, an world renowned expert on online presentation skills

Video: RSVPMaker for WordPress Setup and First Event

Here is a video introduction to RSVPMaker, covering its basic setup and the publication of a first event to your website.

Key points:

New Shortcodes for Displaying a Single Event

In response to a few RSVPMaker user requests, as well as needs that cropped up for some of my own projects, I’ve added shortcodes for displaying a single event. There is already an option with the rsvpmaker_upcoming shortcode to specify that a single event should be displayed, but it will always show up with the RSVP Now! button people have to click on to go to the registration form.

The following variations allow you to display the whole form. While the version with the button is more compact for display in a listing of several events, it’s may not be what you want on a landing page for an event or a blog post announcing a single event.

[rsvpmaker_next], displays just the next scheduled event. If the type attribute is set, that becomes the next event of that type. Example: [rsvpmaker_next type=”webinar”]. Also, this displays the complete form rather than the RSVP Now! button unless showbutton=”1″ is set.

[rsvpmaker_one post_id=”10″] displays a single event post with ID 10. Shows the complete form unless the attribute showbutton=”1″ is set

[rsvpmaker_form post_id=”10″] displays just the form associated with an event (ID 10 in this example. Could be useful for embedding the form in a landing page that describes the event but where you do not want to include the full event content.

Using the popup calendar widget, then changing the code

Update: With release 4.4.2, the rsvpmaker_one and rsvpmaker_form shortcodes treat one=”10″ as the equivalent of post_id=”10″ — meaning you can set this up using the calendar popup in the visual editor to select your featured event post, in the WordPress editor’s Visual mode, then switch to text mode to change rsvpmaker_upcoming to one of these alternatives. You can then delete the rest of the attributes that don’t make sense in this scenario (but if you don’t they’ll just be ignored).

Example

Here is the output of [rsvpmaker_next type=”webinar”]